Monday, January 11, 2010

Man arrested in UK for expressing an opinion

A previous select committee (Government Administration) investigated bringing in "hate speech" laws?

Here's what happened to someone in the UK who didn't even send the "hate" email:

A wealthy businessman in Britain was arrested while at home with his wife and young son because of an email he had not written.

Council officials deemed the email, sent from the man's workplace, 'offensive' to gypsies.

The man, who does not wish to be identified, also had his computer and internet equipment seized at the time.

The email was about a planning appeal by a gypsy, and included the phrase: "It's the do as they likey attitude that I am against", reports Daily Mail.

Staff considered that offensive because 'likey' rhymes with a derogatory term for a gypsy - 'pikey'.

The man was held for four hours before it established he was not responsible for the email, which had been sent at his work by a fellow employee.

The arrest followed a three-year battle by a gypsy family to win planning permission for a mobile home on land outside the town of Battle.

The email also read: 'Get a job, get planning permission but more to the point get out of the neighbourhood.'

Sussex Police said they had arrested the businessman over "suspicion of committing a racial or religious-aggravated offence".

And there are certainly forces within the Labour Party who will undoubtedly push this barrow once they are re-elected. Phil Goff appeared slightly ambivalent on the issue back in 2004.

Of course, further laws prohibiting "hate speech" are totally ridiculous and unecessary. We already have plenty of laws that prohibit hate speech. As Tony Milne outlines here, certain minorities have won their battles through freedom of expression, rather than restricting it. Yet Milne of course has a caveat:
That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t have been an inquiry to look into the issues surrounding hate speech (and more importantly speech that encourages violence against people on grounds of their religion, sexual orientation etc).
Speech encouraging violence is already illegal. Milne may need reminding of this when his party is next in power.


Anonymous said...

Got to agree with ya here. 'Hate speech' laws are a waste of time, and deeply counter-productive. All they do is push people's true thoughts underground.

If people are racist, there are already laws against that they can be prosecuted under. But 'hate speech' just seems to be code for anything the people in power at the time don't agree with.

Extreme Leftie.

Psycho Milt said...

Next thing you know they'll be arresting people just for using a megaphone...

I think it's worth noting Milne's point that the select committee looking at pursuing hate speech included National MPs as well as Labour ones, that it was prompted by a National MP and a Christian group, and that it was impossible for the select committee's unanimous enthusiasm for hate speech legislation to get anywhere given the number of Labour MPs opposed to the idea. This isn't just Labour Party bullshit, it's bipartisan bullshit.

That said, yes - far too many people on the left are all too eager to shut people up if they don't like the message. Kind of like all those right-wingers cheering on the cops for silencing Minto and his pals.

Gooner said...

Minto was arrested for breaking the criminal law, as daft as that law may be. Let's not make another, even sillier, law and give Minto and his cronies even more reason to act like dicks.

ZenTiger said...

Hey, what's the problem? They should have also arrested him and held him for 4 hours on suspicion of child beating while they were at it - after all he had a child, was an alleged racist hate-speech writer and the police have discretion to let him off if they decide he's not as guilty as the law says he is.

There's nothing to worry about with these kind of laws, or so John Key assures me.

Just my opinion said...

Na, PM - I cheered on cops because Minto is a twat. He needed a taste of his own medicine. Other than that I would agree with you :)